Earlier last week, a judge exonerated Brian Banks of rape. Banks spent almost six years in prison based Wanetta Gibson’s false claim that Banks raped her. Gibson later recanted, although she refused to repeat her recantation to prosecutors out of fear of having to return the $750,000 settlement she received from Long Beach High School.
Both issues raise legal problems for Gibson. Financial fraud is a serious offense, and while it is not treated as such, so is making false claims. With Gibson’s testimony, prosecutors could potentially charge her, but there may be some problems:
L.A. County prosecutors have said a case against Gibson for making false accusations would be tough to prove.
Legal experts said it could also be difficult for the Long Beach Unified School District and its insurer to get the settlement money back.
Then there is the reality of Gibson’s life.
Court records suggest she has few assets: She received public assistance for a time and her children, ages 4 and 5, still do, according to two suits brought by the county in an attempt to collect child support.
Gibson, who could not be reached for comment, was ordered initially to pay $600 a month toward their support. But in the last year, county officials said she didn’t have to pay anything, citing a lack of income and employment.
The article goes on to state that Gibson’s age at the time she made the accusation, she was a minor, also poses a potential issue.
A couple of questions come to mind. What happened to the $750,000? How is it that Gibson was on public assistance and that her child still are? Why should her age at the time of the event absolve her of responsibility? Why should her current living situation matter at all when it comes to paying for what she freely admitted to doing?
As I said in my previous post about this case, I doubt that the state will file any charges against her. As much publicity as the case has gotten (even MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell pretended to care about it), Gibson has no money and prosecutors rarely pursue charges against false accusers unless the accusers thoroughly embarrass the prosecutors or law enforcement.
Nevertheless, I think prosecutors should charge Gibson. If anything, it would send the message that this will not be tolerated. No one should be able to lie and put an innocent person in prison for half a dozen years and walk away with no penalty.